Subject: Re: Exploring the limits of free software: Cygnus, and GPL
Date: 25 May 1999 20:04:08 -0000

>I'm a diehard free software hacker.  I am indeed often frustrated with
>the FSF's kingship, and was involved in the start of the egcs project
>to break away from that kingship in the case of gcc.  However, I have
>never seen the need for an open board or steering committee.  In fact,
>I think such a thing makes no sense for free software.  The success of
>egcs demonstrates that it is not needed, and in general I don't see
>what good it would do.

Well, *egcs* has a steering committee, which I think has been very helpful
for getting a reasonable "straight story" for publication when it comes
to announcements.  (Not flawless, but most problems have been the usual
"clerical" kind, like forgetting to follow up on banning an annoying
subscriber to one of the mailing lists.)

But I think you mean you don't see the need for an *overarching*
steering committee that sets the direction for the entire GNU project,
or FSF.  I tend to agree with that, if so.

I do sometimes wonder, though, if we couldn't use some kind of
*architecture* (or design) committee at that level.  There might
be pressure to create/annoint one by the end of next year, if
things like KDE v. GNOME (which I have nearly zero understanding of)
continue to occur too often.  Not that competing *products* are a
bad thing, but competing *platforms* with incompatible interfaces,
each of which are intended to be "the" platform for 95% of the new
code written for GNU (or GNU/Linux, whatever), is a great way to
scatter our fire.

        tq vm, (burley)